Watch The Who’s Full Woodstock Performance All Over Again
via FullConcerts100 / Youtube
While Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey may not have had a good time at Woodstock, the audience certainly did, as the sun came up and The Who delivered a magnificent set. John Entwistle, the bass player for the band, said it best: “God was our lighting man.”’
The years 1968–1971 were formative ones for many of the seminal, genre–defining British groups of the ’60s. It was at this time that the Beatles began to break up, while the Rolling Stones were at the height of their powers as a creative unit. However, maybe no group evolved as much as the Who did. The Who were widely considered one of the best singles acts of all time, thanks in large part to their reputation for explosive live performances that often ended in feedback and the destruction of equipment. The year 1969 was pivotal in that group’s evolution from hot singles act to a legendary act. The publication of the groundbreaking rock opera Tommy on May 17 and the Who’s early morning performance on August 17 (the second day of Woodstock) is often seen as the turning points of that year.
When The Who performed at 5:30 a.m., the Woodstock throng was on the verge of collapse. No one in The Who was feeling particularly cheerful. Since the backstage water and coffee supply had been tainted, they had been tripping for the better part of the following twelve hours after their Saturday afternoon arrival. The Who had long since reached the pinnacle of musical achievement at the time of their concert.
Live, The Who had a consistently strong sound. The music was never lacking in intensity or loudness, thanks to Townshend’s riffage and fierce solos, Entwistle’s swift-fingered-bass work, and the mayhem that ensued behind Keith Moon’s drum kit. Roger Daltrey, however, was responsible for the most noticeable shift in the Who’s live performance during the band’s spring 1969 tour of North America. He was finally coming of age.
You can watch the full Woodstock performance of The Who in 1969 and see it for yourself.